Dressed in funky attires, helmets and backpacks, a bunch corporate citizens zip-zoom the roads of Koramangala on bicycles. Some are professional cyclists while majority of them just wants to stay fit. Apart from doing their bit for the environment, these pedalers have been promoting a healthy lifestyle among their peers (offices no bar). With infectious health fanatics spreading across Koramangala the sale of bicycles has also started to gain pace. People are spending up to Rs 50,000 to get their new set of hot wheels.
"I have multiple objectives to go to office on bicycle," said K Kiran Kumar Raju, planning engineer at Mantri
Developers and also member of Specialised Kynkyny Cycling team (SKCT). "First, I reach office faster on my bicycle as Bangalore traffic is bad, four wheelers and all takes more time in traffic. This is also part of my practice as I keep participating in races. Cycling is my passion and to follow my passion I follow complicated routine." Mr Raju carries a spare set of clothes to change into his regular looks. "My office doesn't have showers. I pedal 2 kilometers more from my office to take a shower at the sports club."
"Cycling has transformed my life in more ways than one," said MS Sriram, sales manager-South India at
Probike. "During my college days (at BMS Engg College) I started running marathons and experimented with cycling to college almost every day. I loved it. I started doing longer rides and did solo tour across south India like Mysore- Kanyakumari in seven days. Then started racing bicycles across India, like MTB Himachal."
Mr Sriram love for cycling made his job of selling the concept of cycling easy. "I currently love my work - selling
the concept of cycling - and I want to see every college kid to cycle and experience the joy," he said.
Recognising the demand, TI Cycles, a Murugappa Group company that manufactures a wide range of bicycles,
launched a new brand called 'Montra.' The company also introduced products on the lines of BMX and hybrid bikes. Its 'Track & Trail' in Koramangala is first of its kind cycle store because it also houses a cafe.
KC Ramamoorthy, General Manager for International Business of TI Cycles said, "Sales have sky-rocketed.
Encouraged by numbers, we also incorporated a cafe within the store and have been registering a profit of 40 per cent on a regular basis." He also added that Track & Trail has become a hit with the urban youth.
Bangalore also boasts of India's first fully sponsored professional cycling team, 'The Specialized Kynkyny Cycling Team' (SKCT), which was launched on March 31, 2012. Moreover, it is not just cycle dealers who are augmenting their revenues, there are many groups who also encourage cycling by organising cycle safaris. They are cashing in on the opportunity by spreading the sense of adventure and health values.
Beginning to realise the positive impacts of cycling on health, a number of professionals go for cycling at least on the weekends, if not on a daily basis. This trend of living green has soared the revenues of cycle safari organizing groups by about 100 per cent.
Pankaj Mangal, founder, Art of Bicycle Trip, a company that organises cycle safaris elaborated, "We have been in this business since past two years. Most participants are IT professionals. Especially North-Indians living here go for cycle trips to explore the city. The crowd for such trips has been increasing by 20 per cent."
ON THE MOVE
"Offices these days are encouraging infrastructure for cyclists," said Ms Sonakshi Yajurvedi, an IT professional. "I would love to go to my office on a bicycle if the office is not very far. It will make me proud of myself for doing my bit in mitigating pollution and reducing traffic."
Echoing her views, Mr Ramamoorthy added, "Health and environment concerns have been the key points in driving our sales. Other than that people have started having fun and enjoy the social gatherings. The large office and residential campuses also help in building on this phenomenon."
"People see multiple benefits from such activities. They feel rejuvenated as it's a good exercise and also feel more active toward saving environment," added Mr Mangal of Art of Bicycle Trip.
Aman Varsi another IT professional said, "I have been cycling since eight months. Though I have not cycled my
way to far off places but doing it on a regular basis distresses me and also keeps me fit."
People are willing to pay the buck to stay fit and eco-friendly. Many models of bicycles are in demand. "Growth is seen across segments but two segments require special mention - kids and urban segment," said Mr Ramamoorthy.
"Kids segment (2 to 8 years) is growing across verticals. Urban segment (for 27+ years) is in nascent in India.
However, they are willing to buy bicycles worth Rs 16,000-50,000." He added, "Depending on the category, pricing differs. Such as MTB bike would cost Rs 16,000, the price of hybrid bike would be more than Rs 17,000 and the road would pinch you Rs 40,000."
Bicycles preferred by Bangaloreans are Montra, Hercules Ryders, Cannondale, Bianchi, Schwinn, Mongoose, Gt and Trek. Mr Ramamoor-thy also believes that IT professionals are well aware and have a good understanding of why they are paying a high price for these bikes. "They prefer buying more premium bikes as they get higher value from it.
So, dishing out more is not a concern for them as they get the product of their desire," he said.
The buying behaviour of people is also changing, as Chandan R, a multi-brand store operator said, "Mostly, who
buy bicycles are IT professionals from Koramangala, but the crowd coming to these stores is getting filtered, as many of them buy online or import directly from companies."